We already know the valuable work sign language interpreters undertake.
They facilitate the flow of conversation back and forth between deaf/hard of hearing people and the hearing community, ensuring equal access to information and participation in a neutral, unbiased and unobtrusive manner.
They are professionals working under a Code of Ethics, ensuring impartiality, confidentiality, linguistic and professional competence, as well as professional growth and development.
However, in some cases, they offer a little bit more.... This personal story illustrates just that point.
A few weeks ago, my father, a profoundly Deaf sign language user, had an appointment for a medical procedure.
Nothing too serious, or anything to be worried about, but, you know that feeling of being in a hospital, the smell, the atmosphere etc…, and if you're a deaf person, you'll also understand the isolation behind the facemasks.
My father was lucky enough to have a sign language interpreter with him during this medical appointment, and the interpretation and support she offered was crucial to the smooth running of his procedure.
Just a few moments before starting, my father got deeply nervous, and his blood pressure shot up. The doctors said that if he didn't calm down, they couldn't go ahead with the procedure and he would need to book another appointment. At this point, the sign language interpreter decided to step forward and help him to feel calm. She started to talk to him about her life/work and they began chatting about this and that...
It is obviously not her job, but she saw the need and was fully committed to helping him cope with the anxiety he clearly felt by keeping him busy and distracted from the medical matter in hand. After a few moments, my father started to feel so much better, calm and relaxed and the doctors could start with the procedure.
Such a small thing on the one hand, but such an important one on the other! Isn't that a truly magnificent act of kindness? Sometimes it really does not take much to make a huge difference in a person’s life.
I'm sharing this with you, in particular with sign language interpreters, just to thank you all for your work. Sometimes is not just translating between two languages. Sometimes you offer so much more, without sometimes realising the huge impact a small gesture of kindness can have.
I particularly wanted to say “Thank You” to the sign language interpreter who supported my father in particular, in being the conduit that allowed him to overcome some worrying and dark moments, but also a big “THANK YOU” GOES to all the sign language interpreters for the wonderful work you do 💜